Roche forecasts EPS growth
Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, has forecast high single-digit percentage growth in earnings per share (EPS) this year as new products start to contribute to sales. Net income last year rose to 9.5 billion Swiss francs (US$10.3 billion) from SF8.9 billion a year earlier, the Switzerland-based company said yesterday in a statement on its Web site. EPS excluding some items were SF12.30, falling short of the SF12.46 average estimate of 26 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.Two new skin cancer drugs — Zelboraf for metastatic melanoma and Erivedge for advanced basal cell carcinoma — will add to sales, Roche said.
LG’s yearly loss narrows
LG Electronics Inc, South Korea’s second-largest electronics maker, reported a narrower full-year loss helped by sales of high-end televisions and mobile phones. The net loss narrowed to 277.9 billion won (US$247 million) in the 12 months that ended on Dec. 31 from a loss of 635.9 billion won a year earlier, LG said in a regulatory filing yesterday. The company’s consolidated full-year net loss, to be released later yesterday, would be about 322.2 billion won, according to the average of 37 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Rising sales of higher-margin TVs and smartphones helped improve profitability, the company said. LG, the world’s third-largest handset maker and the second-largest maker of TVs, is introducing new models equipped with 3D functions and Android-powered cell phones to revive earnings after losing market share to Samsung Electronics Co and Apple Inc in smartphones.
Magnate buys Fairfax shares
Australia’s richest person, mining magnate Gina Rinehart, reportedly took her stake in press group Fairfax to 12.8 percent yesterday, prompting government calls for tougher media ownership laws. The iron ore billionaire acquired close to 8 percent of the group after launching a A$200 million (US$212 million) share raid late on Tuesday, bringing her total holding to about 12.8 percent, Dow Jones Newswires said. Rinehart had been seeking a further 9.9 percent stake in the newspaper, radio and digital media firm in which she already held more than 4 percent to become its largest shareholder, the Australian Financial Review said. Laws designed to diversify media ownership prevent Rinehart from taking more than 15 percent of shares in the company which publishes the Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne paper The Age as well as the Financial Review.
Infineon profits fall less
Infineon Technologies AG, Europe’s second--largest semiconductor maker, said its operating profit for the fiscal first quarter fell a smaller-than-expected 20 percent and predicted second-quarter sales would be “flat” to slightly down. Operating profit in the fiscal first quarter, which ended on Dec. 31, fell to 141 million euros (US$184 million) from 177 million euros a year ago as sales rose 2.6 percent to 946 million euros, the company said in a statement yesterday. Twelve analysts polled by Bloomberg had expected an average operating profit of 127 million euros and sales of 934 million euros. Infineon said it sees “continued confidence” from automotive customers and “some early signs” of stabilization in the market for chips for security on credit and identity cards though “seasonal weakness” would drive a decline in chips that improve power efficiency and go into wind turbines.